I’m confused. About stretching. Stretching was something runners used to be told to do before and after. Then it became just after. Now it’s become never, depending on who you talk to. The last sport’s doc I went to highly discouraged stretching and this guy does too.
What? And, why?
I do know that when I stretch more I don’t always feel better, and sometimes feel much worse. It feels good in the moment, kind of like doing that fourth shot of tequila, but then it seems to mess me up over the long run. Or, maybe stretching isn’t messing me up. Maybe it’s a multitude of other factors. Why, oh why is it so tough to isolate the messer-upper?
So, I did some research because that’s what I do when I want to fix my life. But let me tell you friends, there is a shite load of conflicting messages out there in regards to stretching.
- Don’t stretch! It will lengthen your muscles too much and decrease performance.
- Stretch! It will decrease your chances of tearing or straining a muscle!
- Only do dynamic (moving) stretches, never do static stretches.
- Never, ever stretch before you run because your muscles aren’t warmed up.
After all of my research, it seems most can agree on a couple key things:
- More injuries would be prevented by better warm-ups, strength training, and balance exercises than by stretching.
- Older runners (example: me) benefit more from stretching because as you age, you lose elasticity.
- The benefits of stretching likely vary from runner to runner. Most runners do best sticking with whatever routine they have been doing and not changing it up.
- If you are going to stretch, don’t do it until you’ve warmed up.
- Stretching will not make you able to do what a dog does – you know what I mean (I made that one up).
Okay, now that makes sense to me. You?
Do you stretch? Do you think it has helped with injury prevention?
If you don’t stretch, why not?
PS: The winner of the Subway gift card is # 337 Heidi Back. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!